Danish regulator warns operators about “free” bonus offers

Danish gambling regulatory agency, Spillemyndigheden, has warned those with an online gambling licence to be clear about the use of terms such as “free” in bonus offer advertisements.

According to the industry regulator, the use of the word “free” in gambling advertisements can be misleading to the customer, especially if the offer involves a turnover requirement.

Spillemyndigheden has outlined that this is strictly against the Danish Marketing Practices Act, and must therefore be addressed.

As part of the statement issued to online licensees, the warning will also apply to the terms “free of charge”, “free spins”, and “free bet” if the offer involves a turnover requirement.

Operators have not been banned from using the terms, but it has been emphasised that “A legal use of the terms ”free”,”free of charge”, “free bets”, and similar requires that the chance of winning is not reduced and the offer does not involve a turnover requirement which means that the bonus offer is actually free.“

The statement added: “It was therefore the Consumer Ombudsman’s opinion that the use of the statement “free” in the marketing was misleading in contravention of Section 3 (1) of the Marketing Act. 1, and paragraph 20 of the Annex to the Executive Order on Unfair Marketing in Consumer Relations, because the free spins were actually not free, as the chance of winning was deteriorated.”

The regulatory warning comes a year after Denmark’s politicians placed increase pressure on the government to set out more stringent limits on gambling advertisements. The country’s Social Democrat Party set out to impose a new cap of DKK1k ($151) on the value of bonus offers, which roughly equates to 10% of what some operators had been offering to potential customers.

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